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How to Keep a Long-Distance Friendship Alive

Close friendship

To be best friends, you are committed to always be on standby. It's not that hard to be there for someone when you can physically be there, but when you're separated by state or time zone, you have to figure out a new way to be close.


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How to Keep a Long-Distance Friendship Alive

How to Keep a Long-Distance Friendship Alive


Key Ideas

Close friendship

To be best friends, you are committed to always be on standby. It's not that hard to be there for someone when you can physically be there, but when you're separated by state or time zone, you have to figure out a new way to be close.

Keep creating shared experiences

When you see a friend regularly, you develop a collection of shared memories. You will also have an intimate understanding of what they're up to generally. If you're separated long-term, those experiences will shrink.

It's important to create something you share with the other individual, not just exchanging information about past experiences. The more opportunities you give yourself to connect, the more organically you'll get to know your friend's new life.

It's going to take more effort

The idea that you can sustain a friendship and pick up right where you left off after long stretches of silence is a myth. A relationship grows stronger through nurturing.
Although long-distance hacks can work for a time, there's no replacement for in-person interaction. It's more expensive and more of a hassle, but it's the best way to recharge a long-distance friendship.

Treat it like a long-distance romance

The pain of seeing your friend leave helps to reinforce how much they mean to you.

It can be helpful to talk about your hopes or expectations about how often you'll talk, or when you'll see each other. Talk about the value of your friendship.


Understanding friendships

Understand why some friends stay for years, while others fade away after a few months, or weeks. 

If you understand the nature of the friendship you have with a person, you can better...

Simple Friendships
  • Associate:  The relationship revolves around that specific thing, and you barely ever talk about anything else.
  • Useful Contact: With this type of friend, you exchange useful information, job opportunities, industry news, you introduce each other to people, exchange tips on good deals, etc. But, you don’t discuss personal matters with each other.
  • Favor Friend: This the type of friendship you could have with a nice colleague or neighbor. You help each other with the simple stuff.
  • Fun Friend: This is the type of friend that makes you take yourself less seriously. The friendship doesn’t require a lot of investment from you; it’s just about relaxing, having a drink, partying, laughing, etc. 
  • Helpmate
    This is like having two simple friendships in one; you socialize with this person, and you help each other as well. 

    This one you can ask for lifts to the airport, and call during emergencies like car accidents. You don’t rely on your helpmate for emotional support.

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    The image of a "good friend"
    The image of a "good friend"

    Some of the reasons why we are not that good at friendships is the fact that we don't have a clear idea of what a really good friend might be like.

    Maybe we should try ...

    The gift of vulnerability

    Ideal friends know how to show weakness. They let us know awkward and embarrassing things about themselves.

    They show how much they trust us by confessing mistakes and hardships that have the potential to open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond.

    Embracing and understanding imperfection

    Ideals friends are genuinely interested in our hardships; they are not shocked by the odd and stupid things we've done.

    They are not judgmental or critical of our weaknesses, because they are well aware of their own more troubled sides.

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    “Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm & constant.”

    Don't Gossip

    Most of us want to be popular and resort to tactics like showing of and gossiping. The long term affects of being a gossip monger (losing trust and respect) outweigh any short term popularity you get.

    Don't judge your friends

    Most of our judgments towards our friends are wrong, and doing so leads to you being judged wrongly too.

    Do not form opinions and pass judgments (not even mentally) and be happy to see your friendships blossom.

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    “Life-Extending” Time

    Proactively invest your time in your health by eating well, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and regularly seeing your doctors. 

    Make sure you also invest in the other mark...

    “Foundation-Building” Time

    If you’re spending more time putting out fires than building the right foundations, you’ll never get out ahead of your to-do list.

    Spend time building relationships, identifying opportunities, time for prevention and planning.

    “Do-Nothing” Time

    Investing in do-nothing time will help us slow down and experience a different pace of life, in which time’s value is not measured by its productivity.

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    Friend-zoning is a notion that men and women have different perspectives.

    Men are more frequently attracted to their opposite-sex friends, even if they state that it's just a platonic rela...

    We Don't Know Ourselves

    A recent study showed that men overestimate how good-looking they are to women. Women, on the other hand, think they are less attractive to men, which is not the case.

    People who think they are highly attractive may incorrectly assume that the other person is sexually interested in them.

    Taking The Lead

    Men look for signs or attraction more than women do, like it has always been. Men initiate the love and take the lead, deciding to move out of a platonic relationship faster than women.

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    The 37%

    Mathematics dictates that you should take 37% of the time or options you have to simply look and after that, you should commit to the first option that is better than everything you’ve ...

    The brain when we make decisions

    The 2 systems of the brain that wok during decision making:

    • System 1 is automatic and quick (like "something feeling off").
    • System 2 is deliberate and slow (like an algorithm).

    At times, these systems are at odds with each other, but research shows it's always best to trust an algorithm than your own gut.

    Pros-and-cons lists are flawed

    There are a few biases they don't address:

    • Narrow framing: the tendency to view an option as your only option.
    • Confirmation bias: our tendency to gather the information that supports our preferred option.
    • Short-term emotion: our tendency to have our judgment clouded when emotions run high.
    • Overconfidence: our tendency to make a decision with too much optimism about how things will play out.

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    Be opportunistic

    Learn to notice opportunities for potential friends. 
    We let many friendship opportunities pass us by because we feel awkward or too shy. Instead of small talk, invite them for coffe...

    Make yourself vulnerable

    We have to put our fears aside that someone might not like us or may have too many friends already.

    If you like someone you meet, ask to swap numbers and follow through with an invitation to socialize.

    Start by doing an activity together

    Suggest an activity that you can do together. It will anchor your time together and give you something to focus on or talk about.

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    Belonging To A group

    Quickest way to add meaning to your life is to see your group of people more often. 

    Not part of a group? Join one. No groups to join? Start one. It’s as easy as texting people to...

    Give Your Work A Purpose

    It is less about what you do and more about how you see what you do.

    Qualities a purpose needs:

    • It's a stable and far-reaching goal. You need something that motivates you and that you can organize your actions around.
    • It involves a contribution to the world. It makes a difference in the lives of people who don’t happen to be you.
    Craft Your Story

    You have a story you tell yourself about your life — whether you realize it or not.

    A trend in the stories that people with meaningful lives tell themselves -  redemption stories: the tellers move from suffering to salvation — they experience a negative event followed by a positive event that resulted from the negative event and therefore gives their suffering some meaning.

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    The antidote to loneliness
    The antidote to loneliness

    When people were forced into social isolation, a light was also shining on another crisis - loneliness.

    The antidote to loneliness is accessible to all of us: friendship. The shared global ...


    Science shows friendship is critical for our happiness, health, and longevity.

    * In the 1970s and 1980s, some epidemiologists and sociologists showed that socially isolated individuals over age 66 had a 30 percent increased risk of early mortality.

    * Studies reveal that social connection improves cardiovascular functioning, reduces susceptibility to inflammation and viral disease, sharpens cognition, reduces depression, lowers stress, and even slows biological aging.

    Definition of friendship

    Friendship requires at least three things: It should be long-lasting, positive, and cooperative. Friendship nearly always includes a willingness to help, especially in times of crisis.

    In short, friendship is creating bonded groups that act as a buffer against life's stresses.

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    Rekindling the Fire

    Many couples have reached a cozy state of companionship. The humdrumness of life affects the long-term relationship.

    It is not uncommon to lose the 'fire' and is unrealistic to expect consis...

    Love Progression

    As the initial stage of love fades away, a deeper, richer sense of each other should take its place, and couples can find more ways to make things interesting and fun.

    Look With New Eyes

    Staying curious about each other and finding things, memories, places, and activities that are yet to be shared or experienced together is a great way to rekindle the relationship.
    Revisiting your past and finding ways to connect better by looking at the other with 'new' eyes makes us see many things that were overlooked earlier.

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